Some technology goes too far
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Apr 18, 2013 | 780 views | 0 0 comments | 115 115 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ron Swift
Ron Swift
As most readers know, I do use email for corresponding with friends far and wide. (No, I don’t mean “fat.”)

But sometimes I wish I didn’t.

Just the other day came an emailed video about a new car that parks itself. You only need to push a button on your smartphone (if you have one) and it will drive around a parking lot or ramp and back into the first space it finds. All by itself.

I forwarded the video to a couple of friends of mine who were smart enough to graduate with engineering degrees. Even they were flabbergasted.

But then I got to thinking — just how far are we going to go with this technology stuff? Will we develop planes that fly without pilots? Oh, wait.

The engineers on this planet started to lose me when they developed the electric toothbrush. I’ve never heard of a more worthless contraption. Are we so weak in the wrist that we can no longer brush our own teeth?

I once knew a Boy Scout who lugged along an electric toothbrush on a backpacking trip. Why? He didn’t have a manual brush. Fortunately for him, he failed to bring along a very long cord. I might have strangled him with it.

Not a bright idea

Mr. What’s-His-Name over there running the show in North Korea is a young man.

How else can you account for his ill-advised dialogue on the subject of sending nuclear missiles in our direction?

He was only a teenager when Saddam Hussein quickly met his match and ended up living — for a short while only — in a hole. He soon merged into history.

The same goes for Osama Bin Laden, who apparently fared better and surrounded himself with the comfort of several wives and children. For a time.

Warfare is not my favorite game, and I believe it should be only a last resort. Our country certainly has the capability to very quickly move North Korea into the past tense. The death toll would be in the many millions and the environmental consequences catastrophic for the entire world. The world’s resulting economic plight could well take the lives of millions more by starvation.

But in the same breath, Mr. What’s-His-Name can’t be allowed to go around firing nuclear warheads at anyone. He seems to be getting quite a charge out of his bravado, but he’s a little man playing against the big boys with the big sticks. Let’s hope he soon comes to his senses.

Let’s hit the books

Some readers who are working toward a Fast Talk degree in Trivia (FTT) are complaining about our educational offerings coming too quickly.

“You are pouring it on,” one responded by email. “I do have a life to lead without this studying until midnight.”

To which I say, hang in there. Only five more weeks until the final exam.

This week’s lesson is about social behavior. Learn from it.

A 75-year-old man went out fishing. There he met up with a frog who said, “Mr. Fisherman, if you kiss me, I will turn into a beautiful young woman and become your mistress.”

The fisherman picked up the frog and plopped it into his pocket.

“But you don’t understand,” the frog bellowed. “Don’t you want a beautiful woman?”

“Nah,” replied the man. “I’d rather have a talking frog.”

Something I miss

That would be the large gathering of collectors of military vehicles and other equipment every spring in Del Puerto Canyon under the guidance of our own Mike Mattos.

Mattos sponsored the meet, which grew larger and larger each year until the county put the clamps on him using Frank Raines Park as his staging grounds. The meet moved cross-county, then petered out.

At the meet, visitors could walk up and touch old military equipment seen only in the movies. And some of it had been in the movies, including pieces belonging to Mattos, a rural Patterson resident.

The meet was fun to attend, educational for young people and free. You can’t beat that combination.

For the sports fan

Could it possibly be? The Giants and A’s again in the World Series?

Just that thought alone could cause another earthquake.

And finally…

Some of you who are my age undoubtedly remember when the biggest decision of the day was to choose among Clove, Black Jack and Juicy Fruit gum.

You do remember, don’t you? No?

Ron Swift is editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at

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